1. The Knittingale Hospital with Margaret Seaman (right) along with Workhouse and Infirmary staff members Fiona Lewin (left) and Victoria Mason Hines (middle)

Award-winning 94-year-old artist displays ‘Knittingale Hospital’ at The Workhouse and Infirmary, celebrating 75 years of the NHS

An internationally recognised knitter has chosen the infirmary building at The Workhouse in Southwell to feature their lockdown creation ‘Knittingale Hospital’, which is a passionately designed tribute to the National Health Service.

Margaret Seaman is a creative artist who is 94 years old. She has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her talent in creating knitted locations which include the likes of Buckingham Palace and Great Yarmouth.

The ‘Knittingale Hospital’ was created during the Covid-19 lockdowns and is now displayed on the first floor of The Workhouse’s Firbeck Infirmary until October.

Firbeck Infirmary’s history of care pre-dates the creation of the NHS and was first built in 1871. Some of its functions included looking after local women in its maternity ward and providing end of life care for those with limited means. It was discontinued in the 1980s.

The playful name ‘Knittingale Hospital’ was inspired by the influential nurse Florence Nightingale, as well as the government’s decision to construct new Nightingale hospitals to meet demand during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fiona Lewin, Collections and House Officer at The Workhouse and Infirmary, explained:

“Florence Nightingale had an interest, and was influential in, nursing across the country’s Workhouses. The name ‘Knittingale’ is a playful reference to Florence Nightingale and the hospitals that benefited from her actions as a nursing pioneer.”

The display is raising crucial funds for a new children’s hospital in Cambridge. Donations are welcome by scanning a QR code on a visit to The Workhouse. Viewing the hospital is included in the normal site admission fees. You can find out more about the exhibition on the Workhouse webpage: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-workhouse

Posted on 04 August 2023

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